Open formats in AAC: Part 2

So in the last post I gave an overview of one of the problems that affects electronic AAC.

This is the second part in a four part series of posts on the subject of open formats in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). You can read the third part here and the forth part here.

Let’s give you another issue. I design some pages on privacy issues for someone’s voice. I put them into say, a Dynavox, or a Tobii and it is, of course, clearly my intellectual property. But now I have another friend who wants them on his Liberator or iPad and I have to  re-type each one in individually because, well… “because”.

Does anyone know why?

I was just at an exhibition of AAC manufactures, in which people could play with the latest models of device from each company. But it was just that. ‘Playing’. For those users who, say, have an intellectual disability especially, it’s pretty difference to get a sence of how new hardware/software will perform, when you are using an entirely difference pageset.  If, on the other hand, each user just had a usb stick with their personal pages in half a dosen formats on it, then we’d be able to plug in and go – in the same way that I can log into my email on someone elses’s laptop.

I mean, when I save in word, I can choose 100 different datatypes why can’t I do that with an AAC device?
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The other thing that was interesting at the conference, was that time after time after time I was hearing about users with some variation on the story ‘Well his Dynavox had broken but we found an old liberator in the school cupboard he could use’ – and in every case it was matter of fact that a whole new page set had to be learned – and that’s just the sort of thing which is regular enought to be accepted and yet isn’t an area covered by the commerical interests.

I should say at this point, that the Grid uses an open XML format that they’ve documented (I’m told the documentation is mildly out of date, but that’s fine by me) and there has been some success in converting into and out of that format. But why isn’t this commonplace?


Part 3 of this series is here.

EDIT – reasons I love Twitter…

Handy bit of useful information there…



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